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Showing posts from December, 2019

West African Lungfish

WEST AFRICAN LUNGFISH (Protopterus annectens)

Lungfish are one of those fish we learn about when we are kids, and we go on and on about how cool it is that there is a fish with lungs. Then, you know, you go on and take a whole lot of biology classes and find out that actually a lot of fish have lungs and that lungfish are only really special because their name has the word "lung" in it. Today, I'm going to take them down a notch.

Appearance

West African lungfish belong to a group of bony fishes (as opposed to the sharks which have cartilage instead of bones) called the "lobe finned fishes". The lobe finned fishes include other lungfish, coelacanths, and (technically) all terrestrial vertebrates. The whole point of a lobe fin is that it is sturdier than a regular fish fin, and that sturdy fin was what enabled vertebrate animals to eventually make their move to land. To put this into context, imagine a goldfish trying to walk around on land with its paper thin fli…